Thursday, October 29, 2009

WEST YARMOUTH — What looks like camouflaged PVC septic pipes are stacked in the back of U.S. Department of Agriculture biologist Brian Bjorklund's pickup. Next week, baited cubes of fish meal laced with raccoon rabies vaccine will be loaded into the 116 pipes and they will be strapped vertically to trees or other supports in wooded areas around the Cape.
Beginning last year, local officials adapted the idea of these feeding stations from a New York rabies program. The stations are more efficient than scattered bait and can be placed in high animal population areas identified by USDA biologists.
Volunteers, municipal workers and USDA researchers will also scatter baits by hand next week in wooded areas from Yarmouth to Provincetown.
The vaccine inoculates raccoons and other mammals against a raccoon strain of rabies that has swept up the East Coast from Florida over the past three decades.
While raccoon rabies was raging elsewhere in the state, the Cape Cod Canal protected the Cape for nearly a decade, until a rabid raccoon was discovered in Bourne in 2004. The disease quickly marched along the peninsula, showing up in Provincetown in 2006.
The state's contribution for the rabies vaccination program was cut completely from the budget last year, forcing those on the front line of the Cape's anti-rabies campaign to learn to work with less. So, they work smarter, said Karl von Hone, co-chairman of the Cape's rabies task force and director of the Yarmouth Department of Natural Resources.
For example, Bjorklund and his co-workers learned how to do rabies tests in the field on road kill since those samples were no longer being sent to the state lab.
The USDA continues funding its portion of the program, but the number of vaccine-laden pellets, which cost between $1 and $1.30 per dose, has dropped from 100,000 per year prior to 2004 to 40,000 this year.
Despite the drastic drop in funding, Von Hone said the goal remains the same: to eradicate the virus from Provincetown and move up the Cape, town by town, toward the canal. He hopes that will lead to re-establishing the canal as a natural barrier against rabid animals.
But there are signs that the program is working, ironically with help from the virus itself. Raccoon and skunk populations tend to crash as the disease takes hold, and infected animals die off. Population density studies in South Yarmouth show that the density went from 6.5 animals per square kilometer in 2006 to a peak of 13.1 in 2008. But that dropped dramatically this year to 6.3 animals per square kilometer.
At the same time, the percentage of animals infected with rabies has also dropped. In Barnstable County so far this year, just 2.1 percent of animals sampled tested positive for rabies, the same as last year. In 2007, that number was 4 percent, in 2005, 26 percent.
Von Hone hopes that vaccinating animals while their populations are low will help eradicate the disease on the Cape.
"That's what our goal is," he said.

-Cape Cod Times

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fighting the Flea

For millions of pets and people, the tiny flea is a remorseless enemy. The flea is a small, brown, wingless insect that uses specialized mouthparts to pierce the skin and siphon blood.

Tips for proper application of topical flea control products:

There are several, very significant differences between various flea control products. For starters, many are created strictly for dogs and may contain ingredients harmful to felines, such as K-9 Advantix.

Most flea control products requires "normal body oils" so not bathing your pet for 3 days prior and 3 days after application is reccommended.

For topical flea medication to be absorbed properly, the medicine should be placed directly on your dog's skin.
Gently spread your dog's fur either by hand or with a dog brush. Expose as much skin as possible.
Gradually spread the medication out in a smooth, controlled manner. Applying too much at one time will cause a large part of it to be absorbed by your dog's hair.
Treating animals and their living areas thoroughly and at the same time is vital; otherwise some fleas will survive and re-infect your pet. You may even need to treat your yard or kennel with an insecticide, if the infestation is severe enough.

Did you know!
Flea larvae eat individual tapeworm eggs. These eggs hatch and larvae grow within the flea. When fleas mature into adults, they jump onto their pet hosts for a blood meal. During normal grooming, the host pet ingests all or parts of fleas, and the tapeworm larvae present are released and mature in the pet’s small intestine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting ready for Halloween!

If your pet gets dressed up for Halloween, we would love for them to visit. Ask for a picture so we can post it on our blog.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Home Cooking...

We have seen the same trend that the article below details; more owners are cooking for their four-legged family members. We think this is great, but remember, the diet must be complete.

To support our clients and patients, we have recipes for owners that are interested in cooking for their pets. Long term consideration of minerals and electrolytes is important, and to do this right takes far more than the old hamburger and rice.

And remember, high quality commercial diets are more complete than incomplete homemade diets. So if you cook for the long term, we can help you do it right.

Friday, October 9, 2009